Irene Anderson was recruited from her position with BC Mental Health Services in spring 1942 to operate a hospital at Hastings Park Internment Camp for Japanese residents. Her duties included administering the hospital, supervising patient care, supervising staff, and training aides to supplement the professional nursing staff. Male and female patients and young children, as well as those suffering from TB, were segregated. Patients with more serious medical issues were transferred to VGH. In September 1942 Irene resigned to enroll in the Teaching and Supervision diploma program at UBC School of Nursing.
Photograph shows Irene Anderson (centre) with nurses at the Hastings Park Hospital for the Japanese in 1942.
Pauline Siddons played a major leadership role in the nursing profession, particularly in the late 1960s and early 1970s, helping break down the stigma of mental illness through educating BC public health nurses about ways to re-introduce the mentally ill back into the community following their long term institutionalization in mental health hospitals.
Pauline was born in Saskatoon and graduated from the Saskatoon City Hospital. She served from 1944-46 with RCAMC, and in 1947 completed a certificate in Public Health Nursing at UBC. Later she completed a BSN in administration and supervision at UofT.
Pauline worked for BC Public Health Nursing in a number of communities. From 1969 to 1981 she worked in Victoria as a consultant to Public Health staff, with special responsibility for increasing emphasis on mental health issues as part of the generalized public health nursing program.
Therese Sabourin grew up in Ottawa, becoming a member of the Sisters of Providence in 1948. She attended St. Paul’s Hospital School of Nursing in Vancouver, graduating in 1956. She later received her BA from Seattle University and her Master’s from the University of Washington. She worked at a number of hospitals in Western Canada, retiring from Chilliwack General Hospital in 1988. She served as the Director of Nursing Services for RNABC.
Therese reflected on the history of nursing during her career as a process of nurses gradually gaining more respect, for which she considered education to be key. She was a member of a number of committees and professional organizations which she felt had given her a broader view of nursing and the factors influencing decision-making.
After twenty years manufacturing outdoor equipment for Mountain Equipment Co-op and Eco-Marine, Margaret enrolled in Selkirk College’s nursing program. After graduation with a Governor General’s Bronze Medal for academic achievement, she continued her education with a Bachelor, Masters and PhD. Margaret is an Assistant Teaching Professor at the University of Victoria. In 2015 she received the honour of distinguished Alumni from Selkirk College and is an active member of CAHN.
Many Sitka, Alaska residents have commended Mary for her extensive civic involvements. She was recreation director at the Sitka Pioneer Home, organized and was President of the Sitka Community Auxiliary, hosted an annual salmon bake at her home for the Sitka Summer Music Festival, and contributed her energy to many other community organizations. The Sitka Chamber of Commerce’s “Cossack Cap” award recognized these many accomplishments.
Mary was born in New Zealand and graduated from the VGH School of Nursing in 1937. After her marriage in 1940, she moved to Sitka, where from 1955 to 1975 she was a general duty nurse and supervisor, later becoming recreational director. Her energy and commitment inspired many.
Betty Ross received a BSN from the University of Victoria in 1991 and a MSN from the University of British Columbia in 1998. She was a clinical nurse with management and nurse educator experience and clinical expertise in the care of patients in neuroscience, respiratory science, critical care, and emergency settings. She received an RNABC Award of Excellence in Nursing Practice in 2003 and an Excellence in Thoracic Surgery Nursing Award in 2004.
During the late 1970s she was involved in dialogues at Vancouver General Hospital which focused on giving nurses a stronger voice in the management of their profession. This brought them into conflict with senior management and the board of trustees. Lack of sufficient skilled nurses to give high quality patient care became the subject of an independent inquiry which resulted in some necessary staffing changes. The Board of Trustees was dismissed, and sixty additional nurses and other key personnel were hired. Betty saw this as “A good example of what a group of dedicated nurses can do when their profession is being devalued and roles not respected”.
Julie was born on a Saskatchewan farm, the child of immigrants from Russia. She moved to Seattle and joined the Sisters of Providence for her novitiate and served this order for 20 years as Sister Scholastica She graduated from St Paul’s Hospital School of Nursing and with a BASc(N) from UBC in 1959. Julie left the sisterhood in 1968. She spent her early nursing career at St. Paul’s Hospital. In 1968 she married and spent the remainder of her career working at the Dartmouth Regional Vocational School Nova Scotia, where she taught the LPN program for 20 years. Julie was an excellent seamstress and taught sewing classes. She is survived by her husband, James, of 49 years, a son and grandchildren.
Lenore began her nursing career as a LPN and in 1972, graduated from Royal Jubilee Hospital School of Nursing. After graduation and subsequent employment at the Royal Jubilee Hospital, she worked at BC Children’s Hospital and Richmond General Hospital for 10 years before becoming an instructor with the Richmond School Board. Lenore served in many capacities during her seventeen years on the Richmond Delta Chapter of RNABC – was president for more than 12 years. She was awarded Honorary Membership in the RNABC in 1977.
Lenore is currently active with the BC History of Nursing Society as chair of the website committee and member of others. Her volunteer work includes teaching Breast Self-Examination. She is very proud of her aboriginal heritage. Her mother is a full status member of the Cree Nation
Sheila grew up in an English mining family. She graduated from Dudley Road Hospital in Birmingham, obtained a Diploma in Respiratory Disease and SRM in Midwifery, with further training in neonatal nursing at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. After emigrating to Canada, she worked at the Montreal General Hospital 1962-63, as a midwife at St. Stephen’s Hospital in Newfoundland, and St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver from 1963-1967 and again from 1969-1972. In 1972, she completed a BSN at UBC. Sheila had an extensive nursing career working in the burn unit at VGH, Assistant Director of Nursing at Riverview Hospital and a teaching position at Vancouver Community College. She retired in 2001.
Her memorable experiences include treating polio patients with homemade portable respirators. As a consultant for the provincial government she travelled throughout the north, learning about the north and nursing in small hospitals.
Anna received her RN from Winnipeg General Hospital and commenced courses for her BSN, although her husband’s death in 1952 ended her studies. She worked at Winnipeg General from 1928 to 1938 and served in the Canadian Army from 1939 to 1946 where she achieved the rank of Major. She later worked as a field nurse for the Indian Health Services, regarding these years as the best in her career. She retired as Regional Nursing Supervisor in 1966.
1. Biographical Information Profile
2. Biographical notes from The Military Nurses of Canada, pp. 161-162.
Virginia Surina left her hometown of Kaslo, BC in 1956 to attend St. Paul’s Hospital School of Nursing in Vancouver. She entered the Novitiate of the Sisters of Saint Ann in Victoria in 1959, earning a Bachelor of Science from the University of Seattle in 1962. She subsequently worked at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Victoria, and as Director of Nursing at Sacred Heart Hospital in Smithers, BC.
She was Director of Nursing at Mount St. Francis (Geriatric) Hospital in Nelson from 1969 to 1984, where she was in charge of staff hiring and scheduling. After a sabbatical year studying in Ottawa, she returned to Mount St. Mary’s Hospital in Victoria where she was Chief of Pastoral Care from 1989 to 1999. Many remember her numerous kind deeds and helpful counseling.
Born in Toronto, Margaret Street grew up in Winnipeg, graduating from the University of Manitoba in 1928. After four years’ teaching, she became a nurse, holding various senior administrative positions across Canada. In 1961 she graduated from the Master’s in Nursing Administration program at Boston University.
From 1961 until her retirement in 1972 she taught in the UBC School of Nursing where she became friends with Ethel Johns, the first director of the UBC nursing program. This encouraged her to write her biography of Ethel Johns, Watch-fires on the Mountains: The Life and Writings of Ethel Johns, (1973), which received the Walter Stewart Baird Medal for the year’s best historical book on health sciences. Her awards have also included the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977 and the Order of Canada in 1982. Margaret was an honorary life member of the BC History of Nursing Society.
Elsie graduated from Ontario’s McKellar School of Nursing in 1952, where she became an instructor from 1952 to 1955. She later taught in the LPN program at Malaspina College in Nanaimo, and then worked for the Cowichan District Hospital in different capacities. She has been active in a number of professional and community organizations, which she appreciates for keeping her updated with nursing practice and healthcare administration.
Gloria Webb was born in Halifax where she graduated from the Victoria General Hospital School of Nursing in 1953. She worked mainly as an OR nurse, serving as President of the Operating Room Nurses Association of Canada, and speaking at many provincial, national and international conferences. In 1988 she received the first Isobel Adams award for excellence in perioperative nursing. She also received the RNABC award for excellence in nursing practice.
Sara “Sally” Staples was born in Siberia, Russia. After graduation in 1953 from St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver she started work at St. Paul’s in the medical ward, subsequently holding positions of increasing responsibility in which she contributed to changes and improvement in the quality of patient care.
She helped plan and design the first Intensive and Coronary Care Unit in the province in 1966. Her development of the extended work day and the master rotation concept greatly influenced nursing in BC. She became Supervisor of Critical Care Areas and Senior Director of Nursing Operations from 1982 to 1986. She was also involved with labour relations and contract negotiations, participating on a number of committees.
On her retirement July 1, 1986 she received the RNABC Award of Excellence in Nursing Administration. She describes her nursing philosophy: “To be a good nurse, first and foremost you must enjoy working with people. I see technology as a tool which enables the nurse to do a better job.”
Sheila graduated from the Toronto General School of Nursing in 1951, and received her BSN from the University of Windsor in 1965 and her MSN from the University of Western Ontario in 1970. She held nursing positions in Ontario before being hired as a teacher at the University of Western Ontario in 1970. In 1975 she was hired as an Associate Professor at UBC’s School of Nursing.
Sheila believes that the role of the nurse has progressed from being caregiver to a skilled technician. The nurse has become increasingly a health educator and councilor, and thus more involved with decision making.
Verna Splanes’s recognition for her work in international nursing has included being appointed (with her husband Richard) as an Officer of the Order of Canada. She also received honorary degrees from Queens, St. Francis Xavier and the University of British Columbia, along with numerous other awards for her work in Canada and throughout the world in the health field.
She was born in Peterborough, Ontario, where she received her initial training. She later received her BSc in nursing from Columbia University and her Master’s of Public Health from the University of Michigan. Her career in the public service of Canada culminated with her being appointed Principal Nursing Officer and adviser to the Deputy Minister of National Health and Welfare. She also worked extensively with the World Health Organization, serving as an adviser to governments in the Caribbean, British Guyana, and Libya.
On her retirement in 1985 she embarked with her husband on a tour of fifty countries to examine their public health policies. The result was Chief Nursing Officer Positions in National Ministries of Health: Focal Points for Nursing Leadership. Maria Salmon, Director of the Lillian Carter Center for International Nursing, states that because of her, “government chief nursing officers are having a greater favorable impact on the health of their peoples”. She was a great advocate for history of nursing and was an honorary life member of the BC History of Nursing Society
Rosalind Smith had a major impact on the quality of children’s care. She received her RN from St. Paul’s Hospital in 1949, where she worked in pediatric nursing until 1954. She completed her BA in nursing at McGill (1956) and became Director of Nursing at the Montreal Children’s Hospital from 1956 to 1976, and subsequently at the BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver until 1982.
Through her work with the Manitoba Department of Health and 25 years with the federal government, Alice Smith implemented programs that led to major improvements in health care for Canadian aboriginals, especially in the north. Her successful efforts to decrease maternal and infant mortality and reduce the incidence of tuberculosis led to her being awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Ottawa in 1975.
Her RN from the Winnipeg General Hospital (1933) and a certificate in public health nursing from the University of Toronto (1938) was followed by a BA in nursing education from Columbia in 1950 and her Master’s in Public Health from Yale in 1957. In 1948 she was asked by the Canadian Nurses’ Association to travel to Britain to study the effects of Britain’s new national health insurance plan on nursing.
“Hallie” graduated from Vancouver General Hospital School of Nursing in 1940. Harriet was awarded the Order of Canada in 2003 for her work with the RCAMC from 1942 to 1968. During the war she served in a number of venues in Europe, and participated in the liberation of Belgium and the Netherlands. She choose to remain in the military and rose to the rank of Matron-in Chief of the Canadian Forces Medical Services. Hallie worked as a general duty nurse, in the OR, and in family clinics in bases across Canada. From 1954 to 1956 she returned to Germany with the NATO forces.
After retiring, on the invitation of Dr. Helen Mussallem, she joined the staff of the Canadian Nurses Association as CNA Co-ordinator for the 14th Quadrennial Congress of ICN. In 1970 she was appointed CNA Nursing Co-ordinator. She saw the ending of apprenticeship training and the professionalization of nursing education as a major improvement in nursing and was a strong supporter of the Nursing Sisters Association of Canada. Callie received several awards during her lifetime such as the Legion of Honour in 2015.
Slaughter, Dorothy (nee Tate) (1911-1993)
Dorothy Emeline Tate graduated from the Vancouver General Hospital School of Nursing in 1932, and received her nursing degree from the University of British Columbia in 1933. The following year she gained experience in tuberculosis nursing at the Vancouver General Hospital and at a tuberculosis clinic. In 1943, she obtained a Master’s degree in Public Health Administration from Columbia University.
In 1944 she was appointed Director of Public Health Nursing, and worked to implement a uniform salary schedule for all provincial health nurses, a standard uniform for staff, policy manuals of approved written procedures, and a simplified record system. Her tuberculosis manual, the first major manual of its kind, was followed by an information kit with an up-to-date guide on venereal diseases.
Her marriage in 1948 to Walter Slaughter led to her move to Saudi Arabia for four years. Upon her return to Vancouver, Dorothy returned to a staff position at the Boundary Health Unit, Surrey. She was active in the RNABC, serving as chair of a committee struck to develop a booklet on the Association. She co-chaired the RNABC Committee on Public Relations from 1958-1961, and chaired this committee from 1962-63. After her retirement, she remained active in many community groups.
Helen has made significant contributions to the development of the nursing community. She received her RN from VGH in 1946, her BSN from the UBC School of Nursing in 1961, and a Master’s of Arts in Adult Education in 1971. Her initial work as a staff nurse in a psychiatric ward was followed by brief periods of work in Bermuda and Calgary, and longer periods at the Royal Columbian Hospital at New Westminster and as a Public Health Nurse for the Vancouver Health Department. From 1965 to 1990 she was a faculty member at the UBC School of Nursing.
Helen was involved with many volunteer activities and professional organizations, most recently as President from 1992-1994 of the History of Nursing Professional Practice Group. In 1972 she received a Woodward Foundation award to travel to England to survey health needs of the elderly, and services available. In 1975 she received a Merit Award for excellence in teaching and in 1990 the Nursing Division’s Distinguished Alumnae Award. Later awards included the UBC Nursing Partnership Award in 2013 and 2016, in recognition of the UBC Faculty of Applied Science 100th year, the Dean’s Medal. Helen is an honorary life member of the BC History of Nursing Society
Inge Schamborzki was born in Montreal and received her BA, Master’s and Phd from McGill. After work in a Montreal Children’s Hospital, she came to Vancouver where she was vice-president of nursing at VGH from 1984-1993. She was a sessional lecturer at UBC SON in 1994-1995, then worked for the North Shore Health Region, first as a Transition Manager, then CEO and Executive Director Health and Home Care Society of BC.
Inge was active in many professional organizations, becoming President of RNABC from 1990-1993. She received a Nursing Research and Nursing Administration award from RNABC. During her work in pediatrics she became especially impressed with children’s and families’ coping skills.
Ruth Saunders was born in Camrose, Alberta, and grew up in different regions of British Columbia. During the war she volunteered with the Canadian Women’s Army Corps, serving with Kitchener, Ontario’s CWAC Military Band No. 3.
After the war she attended the Royal Jubilee Hospital School of Nursing in Victoria, graduating in early 1950. She worked for about a year at the United Church of Canada Home Mission Hospital in Cold Lake, Alberta, then joined the Church’s Missionary Deaconess School and was assigned to the United Church of Canada’s Home Mission Hospital in Manning, Alberta. After taking a short course in the Korean language at Yale University, she travelled to Korea as a nurse missionary for the United Church, working as a public health nurse in the hill country in southern Korea. She was particularly involved with the care of Koreans suffering from leprosy.
She became Nursing Administrator of the United Church’s newly built Wonju United Christian Hospital from 1955 to 1989. Here she developed a school of nursing, which is now associated with Yonsei University. She retired to live in Victoria and later Chemainus.
Helen graduated from the VGH School of Nursing, in 1939 and from UBC School of Nursing in 1940, specializing in Public Health. She took a Post Graduate Obstetrics course in Chicago which brought her into intimate contact with poverty in the ghetto. She joined the army as a nursing sister in World War II where she served on the home front. A postgraduate course in OR nursing and in teaching and supervision led to an 11-year appointment as a clinical nursing instructor VGH School of Nursing.
In 1961 she took her Masters’ degree in Nursing Education at the University of Washington, and moved to Victoria BC to become In- Service Education Supervisor at Royal Jubilee Hospital. She retired in 1975 to care for her elderly parents. In retirement, she was active in improving health care and was a contributor to the completion of a new patient tower at Royal Jubilee Hospital
Winnifred attended Vernon Jubilee Hospital. She worked at various BC hospitals, including Bulkley Valley Hospital in Smithers, Grace Memorial Hospital in Vancouver and Prince Rupert Hospital. Involvement in the Prince George Chapter of RNABC and the Red Cross Corps was “very important” to her. The transcript of her interview describes early life and many of the challenges of nursing in early days in the interior of BC. She left nursing after her marriage but returned to work as a nurse from 1940 to 1957.
Celia received a pediatric award on receiving her RN from the Royal Columbian School of Nursing in 1960. She worked primarily as a home care nurse while raising her two young children. She feels nursing has become more technical, with less emphasis on patient care.
Nina Rumen was born in what was then Poland, and has since become Belarus. In 1930, she brought her mother to Canada to join her father, who had immigrated earlier to the Fernie/ Cranbrook region of British Columbia.
She graduated from St. Paul’s Hospital School of Nursing in Vancouver in 1949 and joined the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps (RCAMC) in 1951. Her military career took her to Churchill, Manitoba (1952-54) when Canada’s north was opening up. From here she went to Isherholm, Germany with the British Army of the Rhine and then to Lahr, Germany. She served with NATO from 1970-72.
Nina completed her Bachelor of Nursing from the University of Toronto. Following retirement from the services, she moved to Vancouver, where she worked on short-term contracts with various agencies. She is a great supporter of the BC History of Nursing Society and is an Honouary Life Member.
Sue received her BSc from Cornell University and her MSN from the University of California, where she also studied for her Phd. She was recruited by Dr. Muriel Uprichard to teach in the School of Nursing at UBC from 1975-1985, and while here also worked as Assistant Deputy Director for Nursing and Patient Care Services at the Cancer Control Agency of BC. She continued to work in various senior positions for the Ministry of Health, finally as the Director of Performance Monitoring and Measurement and Acting Director of the Aboriginal Health Policy Branch.
She was the author or co-author of twelve articles or abstracts published in professional journals, association newsletters, and textbooks. She states that being President of RNABC 1977-79 and 1986-1988 was a highlight of her career.
Rossiter emigrated from England to Canada in 1925, where she studied nursing at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria. After working as night supervisor at the RJH from 1932, she enlisted in 1941 in the RCAMC and was principal matron of Pacific Command in army hospitals on the west coast of BC. In 1944 she was appointed principal matron of nos. 12 and 24 Canadian General Hospitals in England and Belgium, becoming Major Rossiter, and was awarded the Royal Red Cross, First Class.
After the war, she became Nursing Consultant for the Department of Veteran Affairs, and matron and later Director of Nursing at Shaughnessy Hospital from 1948. She was active and influential in all nursing affairs, becoming President of the RNABC from 1957-1961 and president of the CNA from 1962 to 1964. After her retirement from Shaughnessy in 1968, she became active in the Red Cross. On July 26, 1979 she received the Red Cross Florence Nightingale medal in honour of her devotion to the sick and wounded in difficult and perilous situations, the 14th Canadian to receive the award since its creation in 1912.
Florence Mary graduated from the VGH School of Nursing and UBC, and received her Masters’ in Public Health from the University of Michigan. She worked for public health in Burnaby and Vancouver for over thirty years, developing support services for women, seniors, and recently released psychiatric patients. She lobbied governments for wheelchair accessible sidewalks and public building access.
She was a devoted member of the Anglican church, raising money by thrift sales which was largely devoted to social development. She was a major contributor to her church and its Outreach and mission work, Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, and a tireless worker and fundraiser for OXFAM
Olive Wilson entered the nursing program at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, graduating in 1937. In 1941 she joined the Royal Canadian Naval Medical Service, and was one of three nurses to staff the hospital at HMCS Naden in Esquimalt. In December 1944 she was posted overseas to take charge of the Canadian naval hospital Niobe at Greenock, Scotland.
She was assistant matron at the DVA Hospital in Victoria from 1947 to 1950, then from 1950 until her retirement in 1974 she was on the staff at RJH, first as a teacher, then in the Nursing Service Department. In 1953, during an outbreak in polio, she assisted the Victoria Medical Society in a program to immunize the general public. She received a Canada Centennial Medal in 1967.
Diana obtained her RN from St. Paul’s Hospital in 1950 and her BSN from McGill in 1964. She held general duty positions at various hospitals in BC, California and Hawaii, was an instructor at. Paul’s School of Nursing from 1956-1964, and held administrative positions at St. Paul’s from 1964-1972. She ended her distinguished career as the Director of Nursing and Patient Care at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Vancouver, winning many awards. She also was an active volunteer as a Serving Sister with St. John’s Ambulance.
Mary Richmond graduated from Vancouver General Hospital in 1943, later attending McGill University to obtain a diploma in teaching and supervision, and a BSN. In 1951, she became the Director of Nursing Education at the Royal Jubilee Hospital (RJH), Victoria, where she initiated programs in the treatment of tuberculosis, public health, and psychiatric nursing.
After receiving her MA from Columbia University, she returned to RJH as director of nursing from 1957 to 1960. In 1960, Mary Richmond left RJH to become an assistant professor of nursing at McGill. She returned to VGH as Director of Nursing from 1964 to 1973, where she was active in forming the Council of Hospitals with the Schools of Nursing, a committee of representatives from all the nursing schools in BC.
In 1974, Mary Richmond returned to Victoria as Director of Educational Resources at RJH. From 1976 to 1983, she was adjunct professor at UVic, while retaining her job at the RJH. For her work with the university’s School of Nursing, she was made an honorary member of its alumnae association. The Mary Lewis Richmond bursary was established by the University of Victoria in 1998.
Frances Byron was born in England, and trained as a nurse and midwife at Laval University in Montreal. She was an Anglican Deaconess who came to Vancouver in 1887. She and Father Clinton founded St Luke’s Home, a seven-room and general ward hospital. She instituted a school of nursing and supervised practical work.
She dispatched nurses from this hospital to various parts of the province, and provided nurses when smallpox broke out at Vernon and Gibson’s Landing. She also took charge of the city isolation hospital during an outbreak of small pox. She opened a soup kitchen in Market Hall adjacent to Carnegie Library and was a member of the VON planning committee. Frances Street in Strathcona, Vancouver, is named in her honour.
After graduation from the Edmonton General Hospital in September 1957, where she was class president, Bernie spent a brief time in Spokane before moving to Edmonton where she practiced obstetric nursing at the Misericordia and Edmonton General Hospitals until 1960.
Beginning in 1966-1967 she was clinical Instructor in Obstetrics in St. Paul’s Hospital School of Nursing in Vancouver. As Coordinator of Obstetric Nursing from 1968 to 1979, she developed and implemented the first family-centered maternity care program in BC, and was co-director of the Vancouver Perinatal Health Project.
After graduation with a BSN in 1968, she became Clinical Coordinator at St. Paul’s Hospital until 1979. In 1981 she completed a Masters’ Degree in Health Services Planning at UBC. As Vice-President of Nursing at St. Paul’s from April 1979 to November 1989 she was responsible for assuring quality of care in a department of over one thousand professional and non-professional staff. From 1983 to 1985 she was also president of the Registered Nurses of British Columbia. From 1991 to 2002 she was Associate Dean of Health Sciences at the BC Institute of Technology.
She was nominated for a YWCA Woman of Distinction award in 1988 and received the RNABC Recognition Award in 2002 for valuable contributions to the nursing profession, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Health CARE Leaders’ Association of BC in 2003.
Ratsoy’s many accomplishments include the development of a family-centered maternity care program and the initiation of a three-year prenatal health research project. At St. Paul’s she was responsible for infection control, ambulatory services, obstetrics, rehabilitation and pediatrics. She responded rapidly and effectively to the AIDS epidemic in Vancouver, developing nursing care and staff protection programs. She has had over fifteen publications in books and recognized journals, and was often invited for public speaking engagements.
Pauline attended Kitsilano High School and graduated from VGH in 1938 and from UBC with a BASc (N) in 1939. She was a school nurse at Metropolitan Health Unit 3. The Lawrence E. and Pauline K. Ranta Memorial Fund was established at UBC.
Elsie was born in a log house on a ranch south of Kamloops. She graduated from St. Paul’s School of Nursing in 1927 and spent the next six years working at the Mayo General Hospital in the Yukon. She started to work at the Tranquille TB sanatorium in 1933, where she was supervisor on the second floor until its closure in 1958. She then transferred to the TB unit of the Provincial Mental Hospital at Essondale until her retirement in 1961.
After retirement, she continued private duty nursing at the Royal Inland Hospital. She later purchased a home on Little Shuswap Lake, then lived with her son in Williams Lake. In 1999, at the age of 95, she was made honorary parade marshal for the Williams Lake Stampede Parade. She was an avid sports fan, enjoyed making bread and preserves, and was skilled in handicrafts.
In the early years of this past century, Helen Randal was instrumental in legitimizing the profession of nursing in BC. From 1912 to 1916 she was superintendent of nurses at Vancouver General Hospital. She organized the Graduate Nurses Association of BC, the forerunner of RNABC, and through persistent lobbying achieved passage of the Registered Nurses Act in 1918.
From 1916 to 1924 she was editor and business manager of The Canadian Nurse. Her editorials were noted for “her unfailing humor and quick sense of the ridiculous”. Her call for the enforcement of a standard curriculum and regular inspection of schools led to the closure of many small BC Schools of Nursing that failed to meet educational standards.
In 1944 she received the Mary Agnes Snively Memorial Medal. After her retirement in 1941 she moved to Winnipeg, where she died at 91. The RNABC library has been named after her.
In her varied career, Dorothy’s work from 1955 to 1957 transporting patients with the Saskatchewan Air Ambulance was among her most memorable. She received her nursing education at the St. Elizabeth Hospital School of Nursing from 1947 to 1950, and subsequently worked here in pediatrics. She nursed briefly at the Regina General Hospital, then from 1951 to 1955 as a nursing sister with the Royal Canadian Armed Medical Core.
After her work with the air ambulance, she married and moved to Edmonton where she worked as a Medical Claims Assessor. After some medical work in Rioja, Peru in 1962, where her husband was working on road construction, she returned to Canada to work at a variety of nursing and other positions. From 1971 to 1977 she worked in the Local Initiative Program in Kelowna, and from 1978 to 1988 in the Long Term Care Program. She enjoyed using her RN skills working in the community.
Eden Pringle was born in Scotland. Prior to joining the CAMC in May 1917, she served in the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force. She was assigned to the No. 3 Canadian Stationary Hospital in Doullens, France, which was situated in a 15th century fortress. 93,000 casualties were treated here between March 21 and July 10, 1918.
On the night of May 30, 1918, the hospital sustained a direct hit. The entire operating room staff was killed instantly, including Nurse Pringle and A. McPherson, also a Canadian nurse. Pringle received the British War Medal and Victory Medal.
After working as a hospital supervisor, Dorothy received her Diploma in Public Health Nursing in 1937, work to which she remained dedicated throughout her life. In 1937 she was the first school nurse to be hired by the Prince Rupert School Board, where she spent five years.
In 1942 she started work in Chilliwack, where she joined the newly formed Public Health Nursing Council for the Fraser Valley. From 1947 to 1949 she was President of this Council, and in 1947 became the first Public Health Nursing Supervisor to be appointed in the province, for the Central Vancouver Island Health Unit. She was noted as a competent supervisor and gracious lady.
Sally Prentice was born in County Armagh, Ireland, and emigrated with her sister Elizabeth to Vancouver via New York. Four other sisters and one brother also immigrated to Canada. Sally worked at Sumas Hospital in the 1920s and 1930s and Santa Rosa Hospital in the early 1940s. While she never had children, she helped raise a number of nieces and nephews. At Christmas she and her sister Elizabeth competed with each other over who made the best shortbread.
Jean Armstrong received her RN from St. Paul’s School of Nursing in 1947. She worked in the Powell River Hospital until her marriage in 1949 when she took time out to raise her family, later returning to work part-time in a clinic. She considered nursing native Indian children a highlight of her career.
After completing high school in 1943, Ruth took a nine-month course at the Infant Hospital on Haro Street to be a Nursery Aide. She took her nursing training at St. Paul’s Hospital from 1948 to 1950, and after brief employment at St. Paul’s and the Shaughnessy Veterans Hospital, moved to Kelowna to work at Kelowna General.
Subsequently, she took her public health certificate from UBC, and worked out of Kamloops and then the Gulf Islands. Much of her work was in the schools and at baby clinics. She also dealt with community problems and supervised the control of contagious diseases such as tuberculosis.
Marion Pennington was born in Cranbrook, BC and graduated from VGH in 1932, receiving her degree in nursing from UBC in 1933.In 1943 she joined the RCAMC as home sister for the CWAC barracks in Washington, DC and worked for UNRRA in Germany until 1947 as nursing supervisor in camps for displaced persons.
Marion obtained her MA at Columbia University in 1949, and was appointed Assistant Director of the new School of Nursing at Dalhousie University. From 1952 to 1954 she was Director of the Teacher Training Program for graduate nurses in Ankara, Turkey under the auspices of WHO. She returned to Cranbrook where she was a school teacher from 1965 to 1971. She died October 27, 1991.
Phyllis worked as a VON and Public Health nurse, mostly in the Lower Mainland. Her graduation from VGH in 1932 was delayed a year because of her being hospitalized for three months for contracting diphtheria. She received her certificate in Public Health Nursing from UBC in 1936. She worked as a staff and relief nurse, mostly in the Lower Mainland, until her retirement in 1974.
Highlights of her career include her participation in a study which showed the benefit of VON services. She also dealt successfully with an outbreak of typhoid by setting up effective containment measures to ensure the safety of the water supply.
Esther Paulson was born in New Westminster on April 9. She graduated from the Royal Columbian Hospital School of Nursing in 1928 and began her lifelong interest in tuberculosis as a staff nurse in the Tuberculosis building at the Royal Columbian Hospital. In 1940, she joined the Metropolitan Health Committee in Vancouver, and in 1942 was on loan to the Division of Tuberculosis Control. One year later, she was appointed Director of Nursing for the province, overseeing nursing care for patients in Vancouver, Victoria, and Tranquille. Her career in TB nursing continued until she retired in 1966 from being Director of Nursing at Pearson Hospital.
After retirement, Esther remained an active member of the Registered Nurses’ Association of BC, holding offices of secretary, Vice President and President (1951-1953). She received the Centennial medal in 1967 for her contributions to the control of tuberculosis in Canada, and an Honorary Life Membership in the Canadian Lung Association for her leadership in the advancement of TB nursing in Canada. Esther published numerous articles on TB nursing and professional issues in journals such as The Canadian Nurse and RNABC News.
Nora Duncan immortalized Emily Patterson in her poem “The Heroine of Moodyville” for her daring trip in 1883 on stormy seas, piloted by a Native in his dugout canoe, to give treatment to Mrs. Erwin, the wife of the Port Atkinson lighthouse keeper.
She had arrived with her husband and four children at Hastings Mill on Burrard Inlet in 1873. In 1874 they moved to Moodyville. While not a trained nurse, and was proficient in the effective use of herbal potions and remedies. Many stories attest to her success as midwife and giver of first aid and treatment to white settlers and natives alike.
Alice, the great-niece of Florence Nightingale, recalls accompanying a brain injured/blind patient to Denmark as one of her most memorable experiences. Born in Humboldt, Saskatchewan, she received her RN from VGH in 1938. She nursed at a number of Lower Mainland locations, finally as Nurse-in-Charge at the Red Cross from 1965 to 1976. She believes that nursing no longer has the character or prestige it once enjoyed, partly because of the absence of uniforms.
Helen Niskala graduated with a Diploma in Nursing from Toronto Western Hospital in 1951, where she worked from 1952 to 1957. She spent the 1957-58 year at the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases in London, England, as a post-graduate student. From 1958-1963 she was an Auxiliary Medical Nurse for the Royal Canadian Air Force while working at the Ottawa Civic Hospital.
Graduation from McGill University with a BN in 1964 was followed by moving to UBC School of Nursing as a clinical instructor from 1964 to 1968. She received her MS from The University of California in San Francisco in 1969, and her Doctorate in Adult Education from the University of British Columbia in 1976. The title of her doctoral thesis was “Learning Needs of Persons on Home Hemodialysis”.
She was employed by the School of Nursing at the University of Alberta from 1972-1975, and served as Director of Education Services in Coquitlam for the Registered Psychiatric Nurses Association of BC. She recommenced employment at UBC in 1982, and became an Associate Professor where her special research interests have included treatment of adults and the elderly with long term health problems, particularly in community settings. Her teaching responsibilities included Advanced Nursing Care, Guided Study in Nursing, Clinical Specialization I and II, Teaching in Clinical Nursing, and Nursing and the Delivery of Health Care. She also worked as a consultant on numerous projects, was active in research and publication and was Vice-President RNABC 1989-1990.
At her presentation of the Jeanne Mance award in 1996, CNA president Eleanor Ross praised Neylan’s contributions to advance “the standards of nursing practice and education, and enhance the status of the profession in Canada and abroad.” She served 2 terms as president of RNABC- 1971-73 and 1989-91 and was CNA vice-president. Margaret had a clinical background in psychiatric nursing and practiced for several years in Montreal before moving to BC. She was a faculty member of the UBC School of Nursing from 1958-1974 where she was Director of Continuing Nursing Education. In 1975 she joined the nursing faculty at BCIT and became Associate Dean of Nursing. She retired in 1991.
Her achievements include successfully advocating for the integration of psychiatric institutions into mainstream Canadian health services. She developed continuing nursing education programs that have been a model for Canadian curricula, and developed a model for independent learning in post-basic nursing education for remote areas. She was the recipient of several awards.
June grew up in Kinsella, Alberta, but moved to Victoria for her nursing training, where she graduated from Royal Jubilee Hospital in 1941. Partly inspired by stories of WW I her father told her, she became a nursing sister for RCAMC from 1943 to 1946, serving in both England and Italy. She recalls that her first patient had no arms or legs. She was the last President of the Vancouver Unit of the Nursing Sisters of Canada before they disbanded in 2004.
She worked as an office nurse in Vancouver for Dr. Stanley after the war, and, after taking time out to raise children, became a nurse for the children at the Sunny Hill Hospital in Vancouver from 1966 to 1976. In 2009 she received the History of Nursing Society’s first “Recognition Award”, given to a person who has made a significant contribution to the history of nursing.